Freedom in Amsterdam

Traveling in Netherlands is indeed expensive, but it’s worth it.

You have been warned that you need to spend some money in Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam, since their cost of living is relatively high compared to other European countries.

On the other hand, why worry in spending much if you can have one of the best days of your life here? Here are some of my recommended activities in Amsterdam!

Ride a Bike

Once you set foot in the city, you will be surprised that bicycles dominate their modes of transportation. For us, we’ve tried tandem bike. The person who will be riding in front should definitely control the direction and balance, while the other person will just support peddling at the back. I can say that it can also be considered as a good partner activity, since it will really develop good communication (since the one in front should say when to stop so that the other can stop peddling) and trust.

It pays literally to look left or right before you cross the street. You also need to be aware that there are bike lanes, tram rails as well as pedestrian lanes so be mindful of these demarcations to avoid accidents.

To have a safe and definitely relaxing bike ride, go to Vondelpark near Rijksmuseum. Or if you also want a different kind of biking experience try Canal Bike!

Eat!!!

Well, Amsterdam’s Stroop waffles, Apple Strudel with Cream and Dutch fries are really worth a try. If you are looking for some other dishes, you may also opt to eat affordable Asian dishes in Yu Family Kitchen. For alcohol lovers, Dutch Beers should be on your list. I find it refreshing and there’s a balance of sweetness and bitterness (well, it still depends on what kind of beer you order).

Here’s a major tip! Usually, normal meals in Amsterdam range from 8 to 10 Euros. But don’t worry, you can still find affordable meals by just spending your precious 1 Euro. Where is it? It’s in HEMA, a one-stop shop which can be found on Nieuwendijk 174-176. The mall opens at 9am and their 1 Euro breakfast is available until 10am. For the 1 Euro snack, it’s usually available starting 4pm.

DSC_0616

Stroop Waffle: Hot Dutch Waffle

DSC_0137

Mayo and Dutch Fries

 

DSC_0498

Brouwerij’t IJ Beers

DSC_0514

Shrimp and Vegetables in Oyster Sauce at Yu Family Kitchen

DSC_0515

HEMA’s Apple Strudel and Cheesecake

 

DSC_0456

Hema’s 1 Euro Merienda/ Snack: 1 cake and 1 coffee (We can’t get enough so we buy more cakes!)

DSC_0519

Hema’s famous 1 Euro Breakfast!!!! We just add some cents for the pancakes and bacon.

Visit their Museums

I love how Amsterdam embraces art and their rich cultural history. Various artworks from renowned artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh can be seen in Rijksmuseum. They also have free app which you can access through the museum’s wifi connection. Using the app,  you can hear additional details about different artworks inside the museum. One trend that I noticed among all the artworks by Dutch artists is that they mainly focus on themes about their daily lives. As a normal museum visitor, I find it relatable and easy to understand. You can also find a cozy library where you can read books inside the museum.

We also visited two unusual museums that may not be common in other countries. Visiting The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum is really an eye opener, because through their free audio guide, I better understand the pros and cons of legalizing and using Marihuana. Second, the Sex Museum provides a collection of various materials which were forbidden to see back when we were just minors. I think they can still improve the museum using  modern technology such as videos, audio guides etc.

DSC_0232

The Night Watch by Rembrandt can also be found inside Rijksmuseum.

 

DSC_0084

Two Mothers by Frans Stracke (1893): This sculpture shows the life of a fisherman’s wife with 2 fishes in her pouch showing that they also have impoverished life at that time

 

DSC_0149

Library inside Rijksmuseum. How I wish I can just seat here all day just reading books!

 

 

DSC_0359

Rijksmuseum’s park

 

DSC_0032

These are some various ways on how Marijuana has been smuggled in the past. You can learn more about all the issues connected to Marijuana in Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum.

 

DSC_0115DSC_0105

Stop and Smell the Flowers

If you are in Netherlands during the period between March to May, please visit Keukenhof. Not just for nature lovers, I find the park very relaxing and  a perfect place to rejuvenate and unwind. Though, if you want to see all flowers in full bloom, then I think it’s good to visit at the end of April or first week of May.

DSC_0260

DSC_0464

Keukenhof’s Flowers in Willem-Alexander

 

DSC_0406

Keukenhof’s Flowers Outdoor

 

DSC_0744

Vincent Van Gogh Exhibition in Keukenhof: Paintings and Flowers

 

DSC_0501

Stylish Flower Arrangements

 

DSC_0522

Take a peek in Amsterdam by Night

Dubbed as the “sin city”, Amsterdam offers  unwavering freedom to its tourists. The Red Light District is somehow famous for its window prostitutes. All day and night, people can also buy Marijuana (joint, space cakes etc) in coffee shops. Though, it’s still up to the tourists to be responsible while enjoying these “sorts of freedom”.

DSC_0835

Red Light District

 

DSC_0056

Coffeeshop

 

Where to stay?

Eat, Play and Sleep in The Student Hotel. They really have friendly staff so if you have any questions, they will be very happy to help you. Their Kitchen offers various meals from breakfast to dinner. If you want to unwind after a busy tour, then you can also play table tennis or billiards here. Your money is definitely worth the comfort that you’ll be experiencing here.

DSC_0831 DSC_0834

Don’t forget to visit other tourist attractions!

DSC_0009

Anne Frank House. The line is really long so it’s recommended to book your ticket online or go there early in the morning.

DSC_0144

St. Nicholas Basilica

DSC_0931

Dutch Houses

DSC_0505

Windmill

DSC_0540

Royal Palace

DSC_0034

Leche Flan

You can indulge in this famous egg dessert!

I know a lot of eggs have been used from home decors to various dishes which are served at Easter. Why not maximize the concept of using leftover eggs by making these sumptuous and delectable….

Caramel Custard or Leche Flan

IMG_5056.PNG

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small can condensed milk
  • 1 small can evaporated milk
  • Optional: Vanilla extract
  • Optional: berries or other fruits

After separating the yolks from the egg whites put the yolks in a big bowl. Stir them well and as much as possible.

Add the condensed and evaporated milk. You may also add vanilla extract if you want to. Mix thoroughly.

Set aside the mixture and now work on your caramel.

Usually, people will use a traditional flan mold called Llanera but I don’t have it at home so I opt to use coffee cups.

Use a separate pan to melt the sugar, then put the caramel in each of the cups.

After that, put the egg and milk mixture in the cups as well.

IMG_5195.PNG

Cover the cups with an Aluminum foil.

Use a tray and put some water in it. Then, placed the covered cups on the tray.

Bake with a temperature of 375 F for about an hour.

Using a plate, turn the cups upside down. Serve with berries and fruits.

Enjoy your leche flan or caramel custard with your family and friends. Always remember to be creative and resourceful especially when you don’t have all the materials that you need.